Breads Bakery Babka Pie
Emerging from our ovens only a few weeks each year, the Babka Pie marks the official start of the fall holiday season at Breads Bakery.
Makes 2 babka pies (freezing instructions included)
For the Dough
1 Recipe of Breads Bakery Challah, made through step 5 of "Mixing the Dough"
For the Filling
350 grams Nutella (or other chocolate hazelnut spread)
200 grams (1 1/3 cups) dark chocolate chips, roughly chopped
For the Syrup
160 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
120 grams (1/2 cup) water
• one large mixing bowl, or a stand mixer
• bowl scraper, or your hands
• clean kitchen towel, or plastic wrap
• rolling pin
• offset spatula, or a spoon
• serrated knife
• pastry brush
• two 8-9" pie pans
MIXING THE DOUGH
- Make the Breads Bakery Challah recipe through step 5 of "Mixing the Dough".
SHAPING & PROOFING
- Lightly grease two 9" pie pans with butter or oil.
- Warm the Nutella to make it more spreadable by putting the sealed container in a warm water bath for about 10 minutes prior to using.
- Make the crusts: cut off two 100g pieces of challah dough. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll one piece to approximately 10" in diameter (it will be very thin). Carefully lift it up and center it over the pie pan, gently pressing the dough down into the corners and removing any air bubbles. Repeat with the other piece. Hold the pie shells in the freezer while you shape the babkas.
It's OK if the edges are not perfectly straight -- you'll have a chance to fix them after the dough has chilled (or you can always leave them as-is).
- Roll out the dough: lightly flour a rolling pin and work surface and roll the dough into a square measuring approximately 18" x 18".
The majority of the work can be done here right off the bat by just pulling and stretching the dough out to the desired size. Use the rolling pin to even out the thickness, lifting the dough off the table a few times to make sure it's not sticking. If the dough shrinks back as you roll, it's a sign that the gluten needs to relax; simply cover the dough with a towel for 5 minutes to let it rest and then continue rolling again.
- Spread the Nutella: set aside 80g (about 4 tbsp) for the pie pans. Spread the remaining amount evenly over the dough using an offset spatula, making sure to spread it all the way out to the edges.
- Divide into two: with a serrated knife or pizza cutter, divide the square in half lengthwise, creating two 9 x 18" rectangles. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over each piece.
- Roll it up: starting with the rectangle closest to you, roll it up from the bottom along the longer edge, working evenly side to side and pulling back with your fingertips to make the roulade as tight as possible. Repeat for the second rectangle.
The tighter the roulade, the more layers of chocolate you'll have. And the more layers of chocolate you have, the happier you'll be!
- Even out the roulades as needed so that they have an even thickness throughout and are approximately 18 - 20" in length. Arrange them seam-down and parallel in front of you.
- Cut the roulade: using a serrated knife or pizza cutter, cut each roulade in half along their 18" lengths, doing your best to divide them evenly. Keep both halves together, creating 2 pairs of 2 identical halves.
If one pair is significantly larger than the other, you can mix and match the pieces to obtain equal sizes.
- Twist the babka: working one pair at a time, make the iconic babka shape by crossing two pieces, cut-side up, to form an X. Starting on the right side of the intersection, twist the two pieces around each other 5-6 more times, making sure to keep the cut sides facing up the whole time. Repeat of the left side of the intersection to create even twists along the whole babka. Adjust the babka as needed to achieve an even thickness throughout. Repeat for the second pair.
This is the messy part. Embrace it!
- Prep the pie pans: remove the pie pans from the freezer. Adjust or trim the sides as needed so the dough reaches the top edge. Spread the reserved 80g of Nutella evenly on the bottom surface of the two pie pans.
- Gently lift one babka and shape it into a circle inside of the pan. Connect the ends together by folding them over each other, continuing the twist. Press the ends in slightly to help prevent them from rising out of the pan during proofing. If the dough is too long to fit neatly into the pan, cut off any excess and press it into the center of the circle. Repeat for the second pie.
See the note below if you'd like to freeze one or both of the babka pies at this stage to bake at a later time.
- Proof the pies: cover them loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 1 - 1½ hours in a warm, draft-free spot.
- Preheat: about thirty minutes into proofing, position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Want to bake one or both of your babka pies another day? Instead of leaving them to rise a second time, wrap the pies with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and place them directly into the freezer for up to one week.
About 5-6 hours before you're ready to bake, remove them from the freezer and remove the foil. Leave the plastic on to help wick away excess moisture as they defrost. Let them defrost in a warm area for about 3-4 hours (alternatively, defrost them in the fridge overnight to bake in the morning). Once the dough has defrosted, continue with step 13 above.
BAKE IT NICE
- Make the syrup: while your babka pies are proofing, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. The sugar should be completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
The syrup can be made in advance and held in the fridge up to one month. Use any extra for glazing other sweet-filled challahs, or strain it and save for sweetening up your iced coffee or favorite cocktail.
- Bake the babka pies for 20 minutes. Then, rotate the pans and lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the seams between the twists have started to color just slightly. The chocolate should look quite dark but not black.
- Remove them from the oven and brush generously with syrup.
- Cool completely before serving.
STORING YOUR BABKAS
Babka Pie is the gift that keeps on giving. While it will always be best the same day, it will hold well at room temperature up to three days after baking. Store the cooled babka pies in a sealed container or wrapped in plastic.
Kept your babka pie past its prime? Stale babka has a decadent second life as french toast, monkey bread or bread pudding.
You can freeze your babka pies for up to 30 days after they're baked. Allow them to cool completely, then wrap in both plastic wrap and aluminum foil. To defrost, take them out of the freezer and remove the foil. Let sit for about two hours at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap to help wick away excess moisture. Remove the plastic and reheat at 350F for 8-12 minutes before serving.